Journalists the world over dream of getting a scoop, an exclusive interview, a lead article screaming 'news' from the front page. So imagine the delight of Italiaplease's roving reporter when he bumped into the legendary Raffaella Carra'.
- I'd give anything to interview her, even for a few minutes...
The barman looked at me and smiled. Then he leaned over as if were about to let me in on a secret...
- You know that she comes from here... She was born just down the road, in Cavazzona di Castelfranco Emilia!
Was I imagining all this?. - Ask anyone. They'll tell you the same story. She was born in the old Custom House.
- I thought she was born in Bologna.
- Bologna's near enough. It's become the stuff of legend, really.
- Do you know if she's got relatives still living here?
- You know there is someone. The Pelloni fellow who lives further up the road. I wonder if he really is related to her...
At least the surname was right. Pelloni is Raffaella Carrà's real name.
A few minutes later I was standing in front of a series of doorbells. I studied them carefully and pressed the one marked "Sig. Pelloni Stefano".
I introduced myself as a journalist and a voice from inside invited me in.
When he opened the door I stopped dead in my tracks. Stefano Pelloni, the notorious 19th century bandit from Forlì was standing in front of me.
Long black hair, eyes like burning coals and a wild overgrown beard.
He smiled and said: "It was time someone made the connection."
|"Exclusive interview with Raffaella Carrà's distant cousin" |
Now as I sit at my computer, I wonder if it happened at all, if Pelloni told me the truth or a web of wonderful lies. There's only one way to find out.
Only one person can set the story straight.
Hey Raffaella, are you there...?
If you happen to pass along the Via Emilia between Modena and Bologna, call in on my friend Pelloni. You're always sure of a chat and a glass of wine. And who knows. . . she might be there too, singing and dancing for old times' sake!
I told him how I'd found him and he looked at me incredulously as if I were stark raving mad.
- Indeed, he said, my father was born here in Castelfranco; Ivano Pelloni, he was going to be called Ivan but in 1935 it wasn't the thing to have a Russian name.
- Was he Raffaella's closest relation? - That's what he always told me. There were 47 of them in the family and one of them was Raffaella. That's how the family legend goes. I never checked it out, and as far as I'm concerned, it's all true!
We got talking and before I knew it dawn was breaking.
I took my leave, got into my car and imagined the headlines in the newspaper.
SANREMO 2001: A not-so-dumb blonde